53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 1999
Savage is the definitive Eurythmics album and one of the high points of the 80's for this reviewer. Coming on the heels of two rather conventional rock-and-soul albums, Savage marked a return to the duo's experimental synth origins, taking the musical form that they commanded so effortlessly to new heights of creativity. Yet the bleak (some would say oblique) and dark subject matter had the effect of alienating mainstream listeners, even though the songs were the best they ever crafted. The album veers between bitter introspection over a failed relationship and angry ranting that is sometimes generalized to all men (such as on the ironically titled I Need A Man). A couple of tracks border on hysteria, like Beethoven and Do You Want to Break Up, which sound like nervous breakdowns in progress. The inaccessibility of the style and subject matter meant that only the truest of Eurythmics fans would remain devoted to this album.
Ask fans why they like this album and you'll get a bunch of responses: It's deep, hypnotic electronic grooves (as on the gorgeous, minimalist Heaven); the stunning "wall of sound" feel of the songs (notably Shame, their finest single ever); the angry, searing lyrics; and especially the subtly subversive and utterly compelling music videos, like I Need A Man, in which Annie Lennox, grotesquely tarted up, seems to parody a transvestite, self-consciously lip synching to her own song like in a drag show. (Think about it: she's playing a man playing a woman!)
Incidentally, the most compelling photographs of the icily beautiful Lennox come from this era - her tranny phase. A number of photos from the Savage sessions were published in Alistair Thain's collected works - a coffee table photography book with Lennox on the cover that is sadly out of print (I could kick myself for not shelling out the $70 for it when I saw it in L.A. years ago). The book includes interesting commentary about the photo sessions. Thain reveals that he himself is the photographer lurking in the shadows of Sophie Muller's melancholy video for Savage, while Muller's cam was intended to be a voyeuristic participant of the session.
For this reviewer, though, it will always be one thing that draws me again and again to this album: That Voice. Lennox's glorious alto in the 90's is sounding more worn (yet somehow richer), but back in 1987 it was in peak form, capable of dizzying highs and elegant vocal pirouettes, R&B belting and straight folk singing. Like Eurythmics' music, her voice defies categorization and typecasting. A profound paradox of Savage is that Lennox delivers one of her most soulful performances in one of the finest synth-rock albums ever made (listen, for instance, to You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart and tell me that is not the sound of a soul singer). Her voice is compelling even when she is not singing (like during the bridge of the gorgeous half-sung, half-spoken Heaven, in which every line is incomplete as if the singer was trailing off into a oblivion of ecstasy only she can feel). But enough rhapsodizing. Get this album for yourself.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2003
Years before Annie Lennox became a solo superstar, she and Dave Stewart released this dark and beautiful album from the leftfield. Savage was pretty much ignored in the US but over the years, it came to be regarded by many Eurythmics fans as the duo's best album, and Dave Stewart himself declared it to be his all-time favorite Eurythmics project. Yet Savage is an album that is hard to embrace on its surface. Coldly electronic for the most part and emotionally bipolar, Annie Lennox was clearly keeping her audience at arm's length even as she bared her soul through some of the most harrowing lyrics she ever wrote. If the music was distancing, Lennox's persona was even more so. Playing her sexual politics to a hilt behind a persona that blurred gender lines more aggressively than ever, Annie Lennox seemed not to care what the fans or critics thought. When the video for I Need A Man played on MTV, a collective "huh?" could be heard as few recognized the blonde vamp with pouting cleavage in the video to be her. The most subversive moment in the video came when, for just a moment, the wig was knocked slightly askew and you were made to wonder whether she was vamping it or playing a drag queen. "Is it my turn? You want me to sing now? OK..." Little did you know she was inviting you into a private drag show. Musically, Savage is equally bold and aggressive, the greatest showcase of the fire-and-ice creative tension of Eurythmics' two members. Mostly electronica, the album will surprise you by cutting into hard rock or neo-disco, then abruptly stripping down to guitar and voice. Admittedly all of this is too bewildering, bipolar and eclectic for most people to appreciate. But if you're willing to take risks and plumb the depths with Dave and Annie, you'll be richly rewarded.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2000
This CD has a fairly unique legacy. It is probably the CD that most Eurythmics fans would say is their favourite yet it was the least successful (with the exception of "In the Garden") the band were to release.
The CD was released after Dave & Annie rocked the world with the "Revenge" CD. That CD was full of guitar and horn driven rock numbers and ballads. Exciting but not ground breaking. Most people were probably expecting more of the same. Instead they got "Savage" which could not have been more different. This CD was electronic and original. Dave has stated that the album in some ways was Annie's first solo project as she worked through a great many issues in the lyrics. The videos to focused mainly on Annie with Dave rarely appearing.
Despite rave reviews for the music and the videos the CD did poorly. One single "Shame" actually failed to enter the British top 40. As if shocked by the poor performance of the CD Dave and Annie began to perform some of the tracks acoustically which I felt did them no justice at all. In the end "Beethoven", "Shame", "I Need a Man" (Great performance & stunning video) and "You have Placed a Chill in my Heart" were all released as singles.
Dave and Annie tried to return to the succesful formula of "Revenge" with the "We TOO are One" follow up to "Savage". ALthough this was more succesful "Savage" remains Dave & Annie's finest hour. Original and ground breaking. Do yourselves a favour and have a listen.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2005
Take a girl, like Annie Lennox
And put her in an emotional abyss
Like a writing frenzy, for example
Along comes the boy, and his name is Dave Stewart
Who hopes what they'll decide to record
Who knows what music they create
I'd love to hear
And I do.....
I love to listen to Savage
You think you've heard the superior sound
But you've !&*#ed my ears with that before
Do you think that I'm underestimating you?
Well of course I am
You're choice of music has been deplorable at best
Agree or disagree, the lennox voice and the stewart produce
It's not an apple, it's a diamond in a world of coal
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2000
When I first bought this on casette tape, eons ago, I thought it was very catchy musically but didn't really pay any attention to the lyrics. Additionally, it was years before I even saw a video from the album, reflective of the fact that it pretty much went no where commercially in the US.
Several years ago, I bought the companion video for the album. Everything made sense. Not to give away anything, but as I interpret it the entire album chronicles a fairly content middle-class woman's emotional "schizophrenia" and resolution, a mid-life crisis of sorts.
Starting with "Beethoven", we see Annie start to disintegrate into a separate personality, that gets her 15 minutes on stage in "I Need A Man". Later on in "Savage", she finds herself winding down from the excesses of her rampage. "You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart" integrates these ersthwile Sybil's multiple personalities with the simple confession that we all just want "someone to hold".
Savage was under appreciated because you couldn't see what they were talking about. Get the video if it's still in print.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2005
This is Annie Lennox's favorite Eurythmics album and it is clear to see why. It is deeply personal and beautifully put together. The unheard track, 'Come Together' is EXCELLENT and has a whole new slant, when given Eurythmics magical touch. I am profoundly annoyed by some of the tedious complaints in some of the reviews below. "J. Brady" is considerably jaded it seems, and "Dennis Dunigan II" insatiable, if not ungratful. There are only so many tracks that can be stuffed into one CD! As a Eurythimcs collector of 22 years, I am thrilled that these non-U.S. old b-sides are now available to us and remastered, at that! As well, most all of the extended versions that we all had on "12 vinyl in our storage closets, will not have to be taken out and dusted off, because we have them here, with excellent sound quality! So, not EVERY Eurythmics song ever created is included on these new remasters. It is a thrill to have a staggering 44 bonus tracks, countless unseen photos in the liner notes (from the original negatives) and all of the songs so dear to some of us, beautifully remastered.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I was blown away by this album when I first bought it back in 1987. I felt it was an artist pushing the limits of what they do best, being experimental and arty, without sacrificing good music. After listening to it now, fifteen years later, it retains all of the brilliance it had on the day of its release and shows that true musical greatness is timeless. This album goes from moody electronics (Beethoven, Heaven, Shame) to in your face tongue-in-cheek rock (I Need A Man, Do You Want to Break Up, Wide Eyed Girl), to joyously beautiful sparse and acoustic tracks (I Need You, Brand New Day.) This CD is a truly vital addition to any music lovers collection. Don't hesitate...buy it now and give it repeated listens.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
On the list of the top 100 CDs I'd have to take with me if I was stranded on a deserted island. Acoustic songs like "I Need You" take the group to a new level... definitely an experimental stage for Annie & Dave and they do it with class.
This "experimental" phase for them is not a wild departure from what Eurythmics fans love, but rather it opens up a whole new list of possibilites for this dynamic group.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2005
I remember buying this album in 1987, and being struck by the beauty, darkness and stylishness of this album. I had been a fan of Eurythmics for some time but this was the one album by them that made an impression on me. From the stunning album cover photography to the unique opening track "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)", this was unlike any other Eurythmics album.
I liked that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart made an album that may not have been as commercial as previous albums, but they stayed true to their vision, which was admittedly often dark. "I Need A Man" was one of their most raucous songs, and although it was not a big hit on North American radio, it still remains a pumping track, thanks to Stewart's powerhouse guitars, and Lennox's Jagger-esque vocals. "You Have A Placed A Chill In My Heart" is a biting but also touching love song over a techno beat, and both "Shame" and "Savage" are moving and haunting.
The newly remastered version of "Savage" is a true gift to fans who have waited almost 20 years to hear this album in pristine sound. The bonus tracks are wonderful, including the 12-inch dance versions which are a reminder that the Eurythmics have always been popular in the clubs.
"Savage" is my favorite Eurythmics album because it truly represents their innovative vision, and it remains an underrated album that was released at a time when teen-pop (ie. Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, The Jets) was making its mark on the charts in the late 80s. The Eurythmics' songs of breaking up, lust, loneliness and cruelty may not have been what radio wanted to play alongside "Could've Been" or "Only In My Dreams" but they demonstrated a band at its peak, and almost 20 years later, those songs still retain the power they did when first released.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2002
Having dabbled with rock on previous albums, Dave and Annie return to their synth pop roots on the slept-on "Savage," which is my favorite album of their catalogue. Annie Lennox runs the gamut of emotions on this stellar release: anger, frustration, infatuation, resentment, and other feelings associated with a relationship that's about to collapse. In "Do You Want to Break Up," a catchy, bubblegum chorus belies the song's heartbreaking lyrics. She blows her pipes to the fullest extent on the single "You Have Placed a Chill (in My Heart)," and cruises through the masochist lyrics of the acoustic gem "I Need You." But my favorite track is the gusty drive of "I Need a Man," in which Lennox screams throughout the track with enough verve and spunk to rival Mick Jagger. Like most good albums, this one fell through the cracks and underperformed on the charts, which is too bad, because "Savage" has some of the duo's best work. It may be too schizophrenic for some tastes, but it's a wild and fun ride that begs for a second chance.